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Annuity Reform Proposals

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Relaxing the existing requirement to purchase an annuity would provide an incentive for some to use pension schemes for purposes other than providing a secure income throughout retirement. Costs will vary depending on the nature of any reforms, including what level of income must first be secured and what tax charge is applied to withdrawals above that level. Proposals for tax-free withdrawals could cost billions of pounds a year in lost income tax and extra tax relief.

Foot and Mouth Virus: Danger of Spread from Carcasses

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any research has been undertaken into the possibility of the foot and mouth virus being spread from unburnt carcasses and in the updraught caused by the fire in another part of a heap of carcasses of infected animals; and, if not, whether they will undertake such research.[HL1190]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Current veterinary advice is that once rigor mortis sets in, most of the virus carried inside an infected animal diminishes very quickly. Carcasses are soaked in disinfectant and the conditions of cremation are such that the virus which remains in areas like the spine or bone marrow will be destroyed before it can be dispersed by the plumes from the pyre.

BSE and Seasonality of Births

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the seasonality of birth of confirmed BSE bovines is the same as that for United Kingdom bovines generally; if not, what are the differences; and what explanations are considered possible.[HL1233]

Baroness Hayman: The seasonality of the month of birth of BSE suspects reflects the general calving pattern. There is no identified variation in the risk of an animal contracting BSE associated with months of birth.

Sports Funding

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that public bodies which distribute funds to the governing bodies of sporting organisations which cover a number of separate disciplines should treat each discipline separately, especially where one or more of the disciplines is significantly more prosperous and appealing to spectators. [HL1013]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The delivery of the Government's financial support to sport and active

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recreation is primarily channelled through the sports councils, Sport England and UK Sport, which are both sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and through the Sports Councils for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are sponsored by the Home Departments of the Scottish Executive and National Assemblies of Wales and Northern Ireland. The councils in turn dispense these funds according to their own individual policies and priorities to many governing bodies of sport and a number of other representative bodies.

Applications for support from both the Exchequer and from the lottery are carefully considered by the sports councils on a case by case basis. Where an application is received from a governing body which covers a number of different disciplines, the sports councils give consideration to treating disciplines within the same sport (or under the jurisdiction of the one governing body) differently.

As part of the application process, one of the criteria the sports councils will consider is the wealth and financial position of the sport, and the capabilities of different disciplines within a sport to raise revenue based upon profile and opportunity.

Digital Services

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many representations the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has received from the commercial sector concerning the BBC's proposed new digital channels for television (a) in written form, (b) through formal ministerial meetings, or (c) through informal ministerial meetings; and which companies were involved on each case.[HL1158]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The department has received the following 38 written representations, including a number from commercial organisations: Artsworld Channels Ltd Broadcasters Entertainment Cinematograph & Theatre Union Broadcasting Standards Commission BSkyB Carlton Communication PLC Channel 4 Channel 5 Children 2000 Chrysalis Radio Commercial Radio Companies Association Deaf Broadcasting Council Digital Open Discovery Network Europe Fox Kids Europe Ltd Granada plc Greater London Authority

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GWR Group History Channel Independent Television Commission ITV Network Kashmiri Association of Viewers and Listeners MTV Networks International Musician's Union MXR Limited National Consumer Council National Union of Journalists Nickelodeon NMP--Anti Racist Trust National Viewers & Listeners Association Ondigital Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television Performance--The Arts Channel Public Voice Radio Authority Telewest Turner Broadcasting System International Walt Disney Television Channel Voice of the Listener and Viewer

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State met delegations of commercial companies on 21 February and 12 March to hear their views on the BBC's proposals. 21 February Artsworld BSkyB Discovery Networks Europe MTV Networks Europe Nickelodeon Telewest Turner Broadcasting System International Commercial Radio Companies Association Performance 12 March Choice FM Chysalis Radio Commercial Radio Companies Association

There have been no informal ministerial meetings.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept that the provision of new public service, licence fee funded, digital channels could affect the take-up of digital television and radio throughout the United Kingdom.[HL1162]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As my right honourable friend the Secretary of State made clear on 21 February 2000 when announcing the outcome of the BBC funding review, the Government accept the Davies Panel's view that the provision by the BBC of high quality free-to-air digital services could affect the take-up of digital television. We believe this is equally true of digital radio.

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Ports of Entry Recommendations

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they respond to the recommendations of the British Tourism Authority's report, First Impressions, a survey of the services and facilities at Britain's main ports-of-entry.[HL1177]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government welcomes the First Impressions report and would like to see as much of it implemented as possible.

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting, Janet Anderson, has set up a working group of industry representatives and government officials to determine the priorities and responsibilities for encouraging the implementation of the report's recommendations.

The group, whose first meeting took place on 7 March, is chaired by Veronica Palmer, a board member of the British Tourist Authority and Director-General of the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

English Tourism Marketing

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what basis their removal from the English Tourism Council of a marketing role for England complies with the provisions of Section 2 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969.[HL1202]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Development of Tourism Act 1969 gave the then English Tourist Board the function of encouraging people to visit England and people living in England to take their holidays there. This Government did not remove that marketing role when we set up the English Tourism Council in 1999. We changed its remit so that it can now focus on being a strategic centre of excellence and is no longer charged with delivering services directly. It continues to carry out its legal function by retaining a strategic policy overview of marketing, providing market research and advising on best practice. It has, for instance, introduced a new England tourism brand, following extensive consultation with the industry, and published a related brand guide.

However, the English Tourism Council has neither been asked nor funded to carry out promotion campaigns. To do so would substantially alter the role assigned to England's national tourism body after the Comprehensive Spending Review and the publication of Tomorrow's Tourism in February 1999. The British Tourist Authority markets England very effectively abroad and domestic marketing is carried out by the regional tourist boards, local authorities and other destination management organisations, as well as by the industry itself.

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Airports: BTA Recommendations

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 12 March (WA 74), who are the members of the working group of industry representatives and government officials who have been directed to consider the recommendations in the British Tourist Authority report First Impressions; and by what date will their report be presented to Ministers.[HL1270]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Members of the working group set up to determine the priorities and responsibilities for encouraging the implementation of the recommendations in the British Tourist Authority's First Impressions report are as follows:


    Veronica Palmer, board member of the British Tourist Authority and Director-General, Confederation of Passenger Transport (in the chair)


    Frances Ackland, Assistant Director, UK Immigration Service


    Jonathan Edwards, Aviation Directorate, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    Sue Garland, Deputy Chief Executive, British Tourist Authority


    Bill Gibbons, Director, Passenger Shipping Association


    Alistair Howie, Tourism Division, Department for Culture, Media and Sport


    Keith Jowett, Chief Executive, Airport Operators Association


    George Muir, Director-General, Association of Train Operating Companies


    Brian Summers, Managing Director, Birmingham International Airport


    Richard Tobias, Chief Executive, British Incoming Tour Operators Association


    Claudia Webbe, Advisor on Cultural Policy, The Mayoral Office


    David Whitehead, Director, British Ports Association


    Roger Wiltshire, Secretary General, British Air Transport Association

The group will report progress to the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting by March 2002 on the initiatives that have been developed to improve the welcome received by overseas visitors at British ports of entry.


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